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Top 15 Tohoku Ski Resorts & Snowboarding Areas (Access/Tickets/Hotels)

Top 15 Tohoku Ski Resorts & Snowboarding Areas (Access/Tickets/Hotels)

Date published: 16 March 2020
Last updated: 15 February 2021

There's a lot to love about Tohoku ski resorts when planning a Japan ski holiday! This highly accessible region, just north of Tokyo, is home to various winter resorts, making it one of the more attractive destinations for skiers and snowboarders.

Here we will introduce our top 15 recommended Tohoku ski resorts for foreign tourists! These include resorts with shuttle buses directly to the station, ones with nearby sightseeing attractions, and especially those with staff who can speak other languages.

Table of Contents
  1. Tohoku Ski Resorts: Great Skiing & Unique Topography!
  2. Unique Features of Tohoku Ski Resorts
  3. 1. Aomori Spring Ski Resort: Stunning Views From the Slopes (Aomori)
  4. 2. Lake Tazawa Ski Resort: Gorgeous Scenic Views from the Slopes (Akita)
  5. 3. APPI-Kogen Ski Resort: Best Quality Snow on a Long Course (Iwate)
  6. 4. Getokogen Resort: An Expansive Tree Run through Heavy Snow (Iwate)
  7. 5. Mt. Gassan Ski Resort: The Mecca for Summertime Skiing (Yamagata)
  8. 6. Zao Onsen Ski Resort: Glide Through the “Snow Monsters” (Yamagata)
  9. 7. Tengendai Kogen: Beautiful Downhill Long-Course (Yamagata)
  10. 8. Sumikawa Snow Park: Exciting Snowmobile Tours (Miyagi)
  11. 9. Hoshino Resort Nekoma Ski Resort: Powder-Snow Paradise (Fukushima)
  12. 10. Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai: World-Class Park to Brag About (Fukushima)
  13. 11. Muikamachi Hakkaisan Ski Resort: Amazing Heavy Snowfall (Niigata)
  14. 12. Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort: Japan's Longest Run (Niigata)
  15. 13. Naeba Ski Resort: One of Japan’s Best Quality Resorts (Niigata)
  16. 14. Shizukuishi Ski Resort: Ski Tours and Stargazing (Iwate)
  17. 15. Grandeco Snow Resort: Exquisite Snow and Natural Beauty (Fukushima)
  18. Recommended Train Passes
  19. Book an unforgettable ski experience in Tohoku!

Tohoku Ski Resorts: Great Skiing & Unique Topography!

Tohoku Ski Resorts: Great Skiing & Unique Topography!

Tohoku has many unique winter resorts, ranging from large ski resorts with plenty of hotels to smaller ones that use the topography of the mountains and valleys in their courses.

There are also many Tohoku ski resorts with longer seasons, and you can even find skiers in short-sleeves enjoying summer skiing in Tohoku as late as May!

Also, it is only at Tohoku ski resorts where you can see such high altitudes and the natural phenomenon “juhyo,” or frost-covered trees (also called “snow monsters”) that are created by the severe cold. Some ski resorts offer “juhyo tours” by snowmobile, so you can enjoy the views, even if you can’t ski!

Unique Features of Tohoku Ski Resorts

Unique Features of Tohoku Ski Resorts

The best feature of Tohoku skiing is the smooth quality of the snow! The snow is very light, so you feel as if you are floating as you glide down the slopes.

In recent years, an increasing number of ski resorts offer areas of “unpressed snow,” such as Tree Run Zones where you can enjoy the region's best quality powder snow. You may need to register in order to ski at these courses, so please be sure to check ahead of time.

Another feature of Tohoku ski areas is that many are surrounded by hot spring resorts, known as onsen in Japanese. We highly recommended having a soak after a full day of skiing or snowboarding!

1. Aomori Spring Ski Resort: Stunning Views From the Slopes (Aomori)

1. Aomori Spring Ski Resort: Stunning Views From the Slopes (Aomori)

The Aomori Spring Ski Resort is surrounded by old-growth beech forests and located on the northern slope of Mt. Iwaki, the highest peak in Aomori Prefecture.

One of the charms of this fantastic Tohoku skiing area is the steady amount of snowfall and smooth snow quality that they receive throughout the season.

There are 14 available courses, ranging from beginner to intermediate. There is even a 3.5km long beginners’ course that starts from an altitude of 921 meters. Make tracks as you ski your course, accompanied by a superb view of the Tsugaru Plains and the Sea of Japan.

For advanced skiers, back-country tours are recommended. A guide familiar with the mountain areas will take you through the slopes with the best conditions on that day. There are also English-speaking guides available.

Access
It takes about 20 minutes to get to Aomori Spring Ski Resort from Ajigasawa Station on the JR Lines via car or taxi, and if you'll be staying at the hotel, you can also take the paid shuttle bus service that departs from Aomori Airport and Shin-Aomori Station on the JR Lines every hour. The journey will take about 1.5 hours one way and seats must be reserved at least three days in advance.

Rentals
The resort's gondola station also serves as a rental shop, where you can rent gear.

Gear Rental
Ski Set / Snowboard Set (Boots, skis, and ski poles)
・Adults: 4,300 yen
・Children: 2,600 yen
Full Set (Boots, skis, and ski poles, proper ski wear)
・Adults: 7,000 yen
・Children: 4,300 yen

Lift Tickets
To get the most of your day at the resort, consider getting the 1-day lift pass that grants access to the lifts from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Nighttime lift passes are also available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from December 25, 2020, to March 7, 2021.

Skiing down the quiet slopes of the mountain after dark also means you'll get to see the town of Tsugaru below sparkling with night lights - something more romantic than usual and worth a try!

Lift Tickets
1-Day Lift Pass
・Adults: 5,500 yen
・Children: 3,100 yen
・Seniors: 4,200 yen
Nighttime Lift Pass
・Adults: 2,900 yen
・Children: 1,800 yen
・Seniors: 2,200 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Aomori Spring Ski Resort
    青森スプリング・スキーリゾート
    • Address Ajigasawa-kogen, Ajigasawa-cho, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori-ken
    • Phone Number 0173-72-1011
    • Business Hours: 8:30AM~9:30PM (may vary seasonally)
      Fee: One-day ticket, 4,800 yen
      Regular Holidays: None

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

2. Lake Tazawa Ski Resort: Gorgeous Scenic Views from the Slopes (Akita)

2. Lake Tazawa Ski Resort: Gorgeous Scenic Views from the Slopes (Akita)

Lake Tazawa, one of Akita Prefecture’s most famous tourist attractions, is said to be the deepest lake in Japan.

Located in the eastern part of the area, Lake Tazawa Ski Resort boasts an excellent location where each of the 13 ski courses offers a stunning view of Lake Tazawa.

Choose the course that suits your level and preference. They range from beginner to advanced and even include family-friendly, wide, gentle slopes, three unpressed snow courses for advanced skiers, and even the course where the Moguls World Cup is held.

All facility information is available in multiple languages to support foreign guests. Other famous cultural attractions in the area include Mizusawa Onsen, Nyuto Onsen, and Bukeyashiki Samurai Residence Street, all within 30 minutes from this Tohoku ski resort.

Access
Tazawako Ski Resort is about a 30-minute bus ride from Tazawako Station on the JR Lines. If you'll be traveling via airplane, use the Airport Liner shared-taxi service (reservation required before 12 p.m. on the previous day) from Akita Airport for a quick and convenient transfer.

Rentals
Looking for rental gear? The ski center inside has got you covered, allowing visitors to rent gear for up to three days if so required.

The center also rents out ski gear, boots, poles, and other items individually for advanced skiers who may have forgotten to bring one thing or another.

Gear Rental
4-Hour Package
・3,300 yen for adults
・2,000 yen for children
1-Day Package
・4,100 yen for adults
・2,600 yen for children

Lift Tickets
A good variety of ski passes are being offered here, such as 4-hour passes and 1-day passes. These allow you to use any of the six ski lifts spread throughout the resort's slopes.

And there's more! If you show the lift pass ticket bearing the current day's date to local facilities such as Restaurant Orae, a beer restaurant along the Tazawako beach or the day trip hot springs at Tazawako Sports Center, you'll be able to get discounts or door gifts depending on availability. How's that for a pleasant surprise?

Lift Tickets
4-Hour Pass
・Adults: 3,200 yen
・Ages 60 and above: 2,400 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 2,000 yen
1-Day Pass
・Adults: 4,100 yen
・Ages 60 and above: 3,000 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 2,500 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Tazawako Ski Resort
    たざわ湖スキー場
    • Address Shimotakano-73-2, Tazawako Obonai, Semboku-shi, Akita-ken
    • Phone Number 0187-46-2011
    • Business Hours: 9:00AM~4:00PM
      Fee: Varies
      Regular Holidays: None

Recommended hotel nearby:

  • Tazawa Kogen Hotel
    Tazawa Kogen Hotel
    田沢高原ホテル
    • Address Tazawakobonai, Azakomagatake 2, Senboku, Akita, 014-1201
    • Nearest Station Tazawako Station (Tazawako Line)

3. APPI-Kogen Ski Resort: Best Quality Snow on a Long Course (Iwate)

3. APPI-Kogen Ski Resort: Best Quality Snow on a Long Course (Iwate)

The Appi Kogen Ski Resort, located in the northwestern part of Iwate Prefecture, is one of Japan's largest ski resorts, with 21 courses and a total run distance of 43 kilometers. The maximum course distance from the summit is over 5 km long.

The snow covering the spacious course area is carefully pressed for maximum ease and comfort when skiing for an extended time. If you prefer light snow close to that of Hokkaido, try the 2km long unpressed snow course, and kick up some powder snow!

Advanced skiers may want to try the special Tree Run Zone, which has several entry procedures and requirements. There are also many foreign language speaking staff members at the ski resort and the hotels.

Access
Appi Kogen Ski Resort is ideally situated in an accessible location. Simply hop on a train on the Hanawa Line from JR's Morioka Station and ride for about an hour to Appikogen Station, which is right at the doorstep of the resort. During ski season, buses will be scheduled to run from Morioka Station to the resort directly as well, and the journey will take about an hour, giving visitors yet another convenient transport option to pick from.

Rentals
Inside the resort, Appi Plaza is the place to go to rent a set of skis or snowboard, or just ski wear. If you'll be staying overnight in the resort's hotel, you'll enjoy a 500 yen discount off any rental packages.

Rentals
Ski/Snowboard Set
・Ages 13 and above: 5,500 yen per day
Skiwear Set
・Ages 13 and above: 4,400 yen per day

Lift Tickets
How about the lift passes? There are plenty of options. Choose between a 5-hour pass, the Shirakaba pass that allows daytime lift usage, a night pass, or the incredibly great value-for-money all-day pass that allows you access to the lifts from morning until night!

Lift Tickets
5-hour pass
・Adults: 4,300 yen
・Seniors: 3,400 yen
・Ages 7 to 18: 2,700 yen
Shirakaba Pass (Daytime lift usage from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
・Adults: 3,100 yen
・Seniors: 2,300 yen
・Ages 7 to 18: 2,000 yen
Night pass (only for use from 4-8 p.m. on Saturdays and special days between Dec. 19, 2020 and Mar. 20, 2021)
・Adults: 2,200 yen
・Seniors: 1,700 yen
・Ages 7 to 18: 1,500 yen
All-Day Pass
・Adults: 4,600 yen
・Seniors: 3,700 yen
・Ages 7 to 18: 3,000 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • APPI Ski Resort
    • Address Appi-Kogen,Hachimantai-shi,Iwate-Ken, 028-7395
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Appikogen Station (Hanawa Line)
    • Phone Number 0195-73-5111

    Reserve a Lift ticket in advance

    • Spring Skiing Multi-Resort Lift Ticket (5-hours ticket)
      • 5-Hour Ticket
      • Adult
      • All-Day
      11%OFF
      3,600
      3,200JPY
      View Deal
    • Spring Skiing Multi-Resort Lift Ticket
      • 1-Day Ticket
      • Adult
      • All-Day
      10%OFF
      3,900
      3,500JPY
      View Deal

    The ticketing website is available only in Japanese. Please use a translation plugin to view it in your language.
    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, details and conditions may vary.

Recommended hotel nearby:

4. Getokogen Resort: An Expansive Tree Run through Heavy Snow (Iwate)

4. Getokogen Resort: An Expansive Tree Run through Heavy Snow (Iwate)

Geto Kogen Resort in Iwate Prefecture's Kitakami City is located in an area with some of Japan's heaviest snowfall.

It's not just about the quantity, of course! The quality of the snow here is top-notch as well, and surfaces often remain smooth and trackless even seeing much action.

Advanced skiers frequent this resort because of its exhilarating treeland area, where they can look forward to an exciting ride downslope in between dormant tree trunks.

This is also the largest ski resort in Tohoku, boasting a total of 13 ski areas, including a family-friendly gentle slope located along a beechwood forest that is suitable for beginners to cruise along and sightsee at the same time.

To make full use of your time here, use the skier beds in the resort to recharge your batteries for the next bout of skiing whenever you feel tired. You'll also be delighted to know that wifi is conveniently available throughout the premises.

Access
To get to the resort, take the free shuttle bus from Kitakami Station, which is connected to the Shinkansen lines. No advance reservation is required, so feel free to just hop on!

Rentals
To make things even more convenient for all, right at the entrance of the resort is a ski rental facility. The popular "Empty-Handed Set," as its name suggests, is designed for visitors who wish to pack light and bring just themselves to the resort. It comes with a pair of skis, ski wear, gloves, goggles, and a knitted hat.

If you're the sort who likes to plan ahead, make a reservation for the ski set online at least a day before and you'll be able to collect your items immediately upon arrival without needing to join any snaking queues. This saves time and allows you to gear up at leisure.

Rentals
Empty-Handed Set
・Ages 16 and above: 8,000 yen per day
・Ages 15 and below: 6,000 yen per day

Lift Tickets
Here, too, is a variety of lift passes you can choose from, such as the 1-day pass, 5-hour pass, or night pass that can be used between 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Get the one that suits your itinerary best!

Another time-based pass to consider is the twilight pass, which can be used between 12:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is quite popular among those intending to ski all day and night.

Lift Tickets
1-Day Pass
・Adults: 5,200 yen
・Seniors / Students: 4,000 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 3,000 yen
・Ages 7 to 12: 2,000 yen
5-Hour Pass
・Adults: 4,900 yen
・Seniors / Students: 3,700 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 2,500 yen
・Ages 7 to 12: 1,500 yen
Night Pass (4-8:30 p.m.)
・Adults: 2,800 yen
・Seniors / Students: 2,400 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 2,400 yen
・Ages 7 to 12: 1,200 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

5. Mt. Gassan Ski Resort: The Mecca for Summertime Skiing (Yamagata)

5. Mt. Gassan Ski Resort: The Mecca for Summertime Skiing (Yamagata)

Mount Gassan Ski Resort is located in Bandai Asahi National Park, where skiers and snowboarders gather from around the globe to enjoy a summer Tohoku skiing mecca. It is open in early April, when regular ski areas close, until late July. The experience of skiing on the last remaining snow on the slopes surrounded by fresh green beech trees is a valuable part of summertime skiing.

Because it is a national park, the grounds are not specially maintained, leaving natural bumps in the snow-covered slopes, resulting in more of a “wild ride” experience than you would get by skiing in a resort. The unevenness is even more prominent throughout June, so if you prefer less of a bumpy ride, we recommend visiting between April and May.

Access
Getting to Gassan Ski Resort is a 50-minute journey by car from Sagae Station on the JR Lines, or a municipal bus that runs during ski season. The municipal bus runs on the Gassan Shizuonsen Line and departs from Nishikawa Bus Stop, a stopping point for Shonai Kotsu highway buses. The journey takes about 45 minutes. Disembark at Ubasawa and you'll spot the resort in the immediate vicinity.

Rentals
If you're looking to rent gear like skis, ski wear, or gloves, note that the rental shop here works on a reservation-only basis. That means you can't simply walk in and ask for available gear - you'll have to notify the shop in advance what gear you'll be needing, so that the staff can get the items ready for you on the day of your arrival.

Lift Tickets
As for lift passes, pick from either a 1-day pass, morning pass, or afternoon pass. The passes have been well-thought-out to give the best value to skiers who need to stick to a meticulous schedule.
When green season strikes in the first half of June, the ski lifts will cease operation for a time in preparation for the next snow season, so remember to check the official webpage for more details on operating hours before planning a trip down!

Lift Tickets
1-Day Pass
・Adults: 4,700 yen
・Children: 3,500 yen
Morning Pass (8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
・Adults: 3,500 yen
・Children 2,800 yen
Afternoon Pass (Noon to 4:30 p.m.)
・Adults 3,500 yen
・Children 2,800 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Gassan Ski Resort
    月山スキー場
    • Address Tsukiyamazawa, Nishikawacho, Nishimurayama-gun, Yamagata-ken
    • Phone Number 0237-75-2025
    • Business Hours: 8:00AM~4:30PM
      Fee: One-day ticket, 4,700 yen (price may vary by time)
      Regular Holidays: None

6. Zao Onsen Ski Resort: Glide Through the “Snow Monsters” (Yamagata)

6. Zao Onsen Ski Resort: Glide Through the “Snow Monsters” (Yamagata)

Zao Onsen Ski Resort is located on the Yamagata side of the Zao Mountain Range. With a total area of 305 hectares, it is one of Japan's largest ski resorts, boasting an area so expansive you couldn’t run all the courses in a single day if you tried.

That being the case, there are various courses available, including carefully prepared courses built according to the land's topography and super-advanced courses with maximum slopes of 38 degrees.

The recommended course is the “Juhyo Course,” or “Ice trees” course, which runs down from the top of the mountain. These frost and ice-covered trees are also sometimes called “Juhyo” or “Snow Monsters.”

Seasonal winds blow through the conifer trees, creating the “ice tree snow monsters” that form when water drops and snow mix and harden. Many skiers from all over the world visit each year to see these wonderful artworks of nature that are only created under particular wind and temperature conditions. After skiing, immerse yourself in the famous hot springs that dot the foothills to soothe your muscle fatigue.

Access
A 40-minute bus ride from Yamagata Station on the JR Lines will get you to Zao Bus Terminal. Get off here and walk for about 5 minutes to reach the ski resort. If you're taking a flight, there is a sightseeing liner that ferries visitors directly to the ski resort from the airport that you can consider as well. The journey is about one hour and reservation is required at least one day in advance, before 5 p.m.

Rentals
More than 10 shops near the facility rent out skis, snowboards, ski wear, and other relevant items and accessories. The specific package or item available differs from shop to shop, so simply ask one of the shop staff for more information if you're interested in renting something.

Lift Tickets
To get to the top of Mount Zao from Zao Onsen Ski Resort, you can use the ski lifts, sky cable, or ropeway. The lift pass is valid on all lifts found in the resort, and there are more than 10 types of passes available during regular ski season (December 19, 2020 to March 21, 2021) for your choosing, such as the 1-day pass, 2-hour pass, or night pass.

Note that during the warmer final season period (April 1, 2021 onwards), only a 1-day pass (Adults: 3,000 yen; Children: 1,500 yen) is available for purchase.

Lift Tickets
1-Day Pass
・Adults: 5,000 yen
・Children: 2,500 yen
・Seniors: 4,400 yen
2-Hour Pass
・Adults: 3,200 yen
・Children: 1,600 yen
Night Pass
・Adults: 2,400 yen
・Children: 1,200 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

Recommended hotel nearby:

7. Tengendai Kogen: Beautiful Downhill Long-Course (Yamagata)

7. Tengendai Kogen: Beautiful Downhill Long-Course (Yamagata)

Tengendai Kogen, located in the southeastern part of Yamagata Prefecture, is a ski resort with a long snowy season that lasts until Golden Week in May each year.

Three lifts are installed vertically to the top of these courses, the longest one boasting a maximum length of 6 kilometers and an altitude of 900 meters.

The slopes aren't overly packed with snow, so you can enjoy the feeling of flying through light, fresh snow. There is also a “Snow Hike” tour of Tengendai Kogen, which overlooks the Yonezawa basin from 1,350 meters above sea level. Take a walk through the snowy fields wearing traditional Japanese snowshoes called “kanjiki."

Access
To get to the ski slopes, hop on a Shirabu Onsen-bound Yamako Bus from Yonezawa Station on the JR Lines. After about 40 minutes, the bus should arrive at Shirabu Yumoto Station, where you can transfer to the ropeway and reach the slopes in about six minutes.

Rentals
In terms of rental services, the resort offers a rental package consisting of skis, ski poles, and boots on a per-use basis (Adults: 3,800 yen per use; Ages 12 and below: 2,550 yen per use).

Sleds are also available at 550 yen per use. However, if you've forgotten gloves and goggles, you'll have to buy them from the shop instead of renting.

For those taking part in activities needing snowshoes, these are available for rent as well (1,500 yen per use, reservation required).

Lift Tickets
The 1-day passport here is valid for both the ropeway and ski lifts.

Visitors who are here for winter mountain climbing or to sightsee the snow-covered trees and only need to use the lifts once can purchase the ropeway/lift round trip pass (Adults: 3,800 yen; Ages 12 and below: 2,700 yen) at a lower price for some savings.

The lifts may not be operational on some days due to power outages or strong winds, so always check the official website for updates before setting off for your trip!

Lift Tickets
1-Day Passport
・Adults: 4,900 yen
・Seniors / Ages 13 and above: 4,000 yen
・Ages 12 and below: 3,600 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Disinfected after each guest leaves / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

8. Sumikawa Snow Park: Exciting Snowmobile Tours (Miyagi)

8. Sumikawa Snow Park: Exciting Snowmobile Tours (Miyagi)

Sumikawa Snow Park is located on the Miyagi Prefecture side of the Zao Mountain Range. It is another great Tohoku ski resort where you can see the rare natural "Snow Monster" phenomenon.

Although it is a bit more compact, this resort offers eight courses that make use of the varied topography, such as swamps, forests, and well-maintained parks. Various tours are also available, including a backcountry tour and a Snowcat tour where you can ride a snowcat up to Mount Katta.

The “Ice Tree Tour” is popular with tourists who don't wish to ski or snowboard and takes you to a field of ice trees at an altitude of 1,600 meters via snowmobile. Stroll through the fields for a glimpse of these powerful Ice Tree forests.

Access
Hop on an Active Resorts Miyagizao-bound Miyako Bus from the West Exit of Sendai Station on the JR Lines and ride for about an hour to Togattaonsen. After getting off the bus, take the free shuttle bus (only two round trips per day) from Togattaonsen Tourist Center and you'll reach the resort in about 40 minutes.

Rentals
Skis and snowboard sets (3,500 yen for one day), fat skis, and backcountry skiing related items can be rented at the ski slopes. You'll need to produce identification documents to proceed with the rental, so don't forget to bring them along!

Lift Tickets
There are six types of lift passes you can purchase, such as a 1-day pass or 3-hour pass. A special price of 2,500 yen for a 1-day pass is also available for those between 19 to 29 years of age.

In fact, if you're thinking of going for the 1-day pass, consider getting it in a set that also comes with a free shuttle bus service only available during ski season that takes you directly to and fro the resort in about two hours via Sendai Station on the JR Lines (5,700 yen for this one!).

There are also other discount ticket bundles that cater to senior visitors or those interested in sightseeing the snow-covered trees in the area. Check them out on the official website and see which is the best one for your plans!

Lift Tickets
1-Day Pass
・Adults: 3,500 yen
・Seniors / Ages 13 to 18: 3,000 yen
・Children: 2,500 yen
3-Hour Pass
・Adults: 3,000 yen
・Seniors / Ages 13 to 18: 2,500 yen
・Children: 2,000 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Disinfected after each guest leaves / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Sumikawa Snow Park
    すみかわスノーパーク
    • Address Slope Rest House, Kuraishidake National Forest, Zao, Togatta Onsen, Katta-gun, Miyagi-ken
    • Phone Number 0224-87-2610
    • Hours: December 15, 2020 – April 4, 2021, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (until 4:30 p.m. on weekends and public holidays in March and April)
      Price: 1-day adult lift pass 3,500 yen
      Closed: Open Daily

9. Hoshino Resort Nekoma Ski Resort: Powder-Snow Paradise (Fukushima)

9. Hoshino Resort Nekoma Ski Resort: Powder-Snow Paradise (Fukushima)

Hoshino Resort Nekoma Ski Resort is located in the heavy-snowfall area of the Urabandai mountain range in Fukushima Prefecture.

Although it is located in the south of Tohoku, this ski resort boasts a dry inland climate, an altitude of over 1,000 meters, a north-facing slope, and smooth powdered snow brought by chilled lakes.

Micro-fine, high-quality powder snow here piles up generously, making for a comfortable, good-quality ski down that attracts many fans from far away. The business operates for an extended period, all the way until Golden Week. There are even spring-only services such as free ski and snowboard rentals available.

Access
There's a free direct shuttle bus from Inawashiro Station to the ski resort that takes about 40 minutes, but advanced reservation is required and this can only be done on the official homepage. Also note that the shuttle bus only takes one round trip per day.

Rentals
Inside the resort, you'll find a rental corner that only rents out equipment for use on the current day. One of the more popular packages is the "Empty-Handed Set" (10,000 yen for one day) which contains a full set of essential items like boards, gear, and goggles.

Lift Tickets
A 1-day lift pass will set you back 4,200 yen (4,700 yen for dates between December 19, 2020 and January 5, 2021), or you can choose to go for the Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai combo 1-day pass for 4,900 yen.

The combo pass is valid on ski lifts in both Nekoma and Alts, making it the perfect pass to buy for avid skiers aiming to conquer the slopes on both resorts!

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests are required to wear masks

10. Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai: World-Class Park to Brag About (Fukushima)

10. Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai: World-Class Park to Brag About (Fukushima)

Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai, which spans the three mountains of Mount Bandai, Mount Nekomadake, and Mount Mayatakesan, is one of Japan's largest snow resorts.

A variety of courses are available, including a kids' area, a gondola area overlooking Lake Inawashiro, a symbol of Fukushima, and a park where athletes from all over the world come together.

Activities other than the typical snow sports include snow rafting, in which you ride an inflatable rubber raft pulled by a snowmobile, and the Bandai Observation Deck on the top of the mountain. You can stay at a hotel that connects directly to the slopes to reduce travel time, giving you more time to even enjoy a relaxing spa visit.

Access
Take a free shuttle bus from Bandaimachi Station on the JR Lines to get to Hoshino Resort Alts Bandai after about 20 minutes on the road. Reservation is recommended, although you'll still be able to take the bus without one if there are empty seats available on the day itself. But why risk it, right?

Rentals
The rental corner in the resort only rents out gear for the current day. You'll have access to snowboards, ski wear, goggles, gloves, accessories and other essential items.

The "Empty-Handed Set" (10,000 yen for one day) is especially useful for those traveling light, as this package contains a full set of items you'll need to start skiing right away. Of course, you can also rent individual items if that is your preference.

In order to reduce the risk of contact infection, all rental wear are disinfected and coated with a solution that destroys virus proteins and nullifies their infectiousness. So rest assured and rent with peace of mind!

Lift Tickets
The lift passes available here are the 1-day combo pass that also allows access to ski lifts in Hoshino Resort Nekoma Ski Resort, and an afternoon pass. Simply add on another 500 yen to any one of these passes to get nighttime access to the lifts as well! If you'll only be using the snow escalators, those are free of charge!

Lift Tickets
1-Day Combo Pass
・Adults: 4,900 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 3,700 yen
・Ages 12 and below: 2,100 yen
・Seniors: 4,200 yen
Afternoon Pass
・Adults: 4,400 yen
・Ages 13 to 18: 3,200 yen
・Ages 12 and below: 1,600 yen
・Seniors: 3,700 yen

Measures against Covid-19
Indoor disinfection measures taken / Sanitizer installed / Ventilation measures in place / Coin trays used / Plastic partitions installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Guests are required to wear masks

11. Muikamachi Hakkaisan Ski Resort: Amazing Heavy Snowfall (Niigata)

11. Muikamachi Hakkaisan Ski Resort: Amazing Heavy Snowfall (Niigata)

Muikamachi Hakkaisan Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture is one of the heaviest snowfall areas in around. It’s a treasure trove of powder with plenty of good quality snow, despite its sunny, south-facing slopes.

The main run at this Tohoku ski resort is the 3,000m long “Downhill Course,” with its 800m drop in altitude. One of the most popular runs is the “Expert Course,” which consists entirely of natural powder. Known as one of the most difficult courses, every snowfall covers it in a deep layer of fresh powder with tons of drifts.

The “Champion Course,” is short but steep with a clear view of the foot of the mountain spreading out below. In addition to these three, there are plenty of different powder runs to choose from.

The Base Camp has great places to eat lunch, like at the Ramen Corner, which has a huge and varied menu, or Mount House Wolves, specializing in rotisserie chicken. The mid-slope Restaurant Downhill serves classic dishes like curry or noodles, along with a superb view.

There are numerous guest houses, hot spring inns, and hot spring facilities nearby. Uonuma no Sato brewery, maker of “Hakkaisan” sake, has an interesting snow room storage area, as well as a café that serves local beer and soba noodles. It’s perfect for some apres-ski fun!

12. Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort: Japan's Longest Run (Niigata)

12. Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort: Japan's Longest Run  (Niigata)

Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort extends down the slopes of Niigata’s Mt. Myoko and is home to the county’s longest run, with a length of 8,500m and a drop of 1,124m.

The 1,000m “Super Giant Trail” is the prime powder run, and other specialty runs include the “Tengu Oshiki,” “Jigokudani,” and the rough terrain “Super Mogul Course.”

About 80% of the 17 courses are beginner and intermediate courses, making Myoko Suginohara a vibrant ski area great for skiers of all levels! Be sure to add this Tohoku ski resort to your list of winter spots.

The “Sugi Park” snow park also has a reputation for high quality. Restaurants can be found near the lifts and the Suginohara parking area including Sanroku Restaurant Myoko, which has a menu full of dishes made with local ingredients. The Ramen Corner is just right for those who want a hot and hearty bowl of noodles.

In the middle of the Mitahara zone, there’s also a privately owned restaurant. At the foot of the mountain, there’s a guesthouse area, which is convenient for hot spring day trips.

13. Naeba Ski Resort: One of Japan’s Best Quality Resorts (Niigata)

13. Naeba Ski Resort: One of Japan’s Best Quality Resorts (Niigata)

Also in Niigata, Naeba Ski Resort has a luxury atmosphere with numerous hotels at the base of the mountain. Naeba is connected to the adjacent Kagura Ski Resort by the 5,481m-long “Dragondora” lift – the longest in Japan – to make Mt. Naeba the country’s largest snow resort.

Even during periods of lighter snow, skiing conditions are kept stable with artificial snow. The area in front of the hotels is broad and allows for a relaxing end to your run.
In collaboration with the women's apparel brand Roxy, the “Roxy Snow Park” is a popular spot with Instagram-ready Roxy signage and benches.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from early January to early April, "Ladies' Day passes" for the Naeba area are only 3,500 yen - perfect for enjoying one of the finest Tohoku ski resorts with the gals!

There are approximately 30 restaurants in the ski resorts and hotels altogether, offering a wide range of dishes from simple ramen, pizza, and kebabs to gourmet meals such as yakiniku, sushi, buffets, izakaya food, and Chinese dishes.

We highly recommend Cocktail Lounge Chatelaine, where you can enjoy tea time and original cocktails with a gorgeous view of the slopes.

The Naeba Prince Hotel also has two hot spring facilities: “Naeba-no-Yu,” which is reserved for hotel guests, and “Hiuchi-no-Yu,” an open-air bath that can be used by day trippers. “Relax care” offers massages and shiatsu to relieve the fatigue of skiing and snowboarding. From late December to late March, there are “Slope Launched Fireworks” every Saturday, as well as many other events that make Naeba Ski Resort an attractive winter destination.

14. Shizukuishi Ski Resort: Ski Tours and Stargazing (Iwate)

14. Shizukuishi Ski Resort: Ski Tours and Stargazing (Iwate)

Shizukuishi Ski Resort is located in inland Iwate Prefecture, where the snow is a little wetter. One of the best resorts in northeastern Japan, it has the distinct characteristic of being the venue for the 1993 Alpine World Ski Championships.

The 4,500m-long course extending from just below the peak of Mt. Takakura is a famous run used for men's downhill events.

There are eleven different ski trails, including a slope for families and beginners, and a giant slalom course where you can enjoy powder after a fresh snowfall. Shizukuishi Snowland features many activities and visitors can go tubing or ride the “Polar Carousel.” There's even a "Snow Ninja Dojo" which is great for kids!

From the rooms on the Iwateyama side of the Shizukuishi Prince Hotel, you can get a clear view of one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains, Mt. Iwate. Local delicacies and other fine meals are available at the French Cuisine Kobushi and Prince Room restaurants.

The facility also has a hot spring, the Shizukuishi Takakura Onsen, which has sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate springs to soften the skin and warm yourself up. If you reserve a room at the hotel, it's even easier to take part in some of the resort’s other interesting activities like the “Sunrise” and “Powder Ski” snowcat ski tours that take customers to designated areas for ungroomed skiing, or the Shizukuishi Galaxy Ropeway’s stargazing tour.

  • Shizukuishi Ski Resort
    雫石スキー場
    • Address Takakura Onsen, Shizukuishi-cho, Iwate-gun, Iwate 020-0593
    • Phone Number 019-693-1111

15. Grandeco Snow Resort: Exquisite Snow and Natural Beauty (Fukushima)

15. Grandeco Snow Resort: Exquisite Snow and Natural Beauty (Fukushima)

Fukushima Prefecture’s Grandeco Snow Resort boasts some of the highest quality snow in Japan. Clouds pass over the Ou Mountains from the Sea of Japan and blanket the range in the fluffy, slick “Kamiyuki” powder.

The base of the slope is just over 1,000m above sea level and the top reaches an elevation of 1,590m above sea level. The long December to April season is a major draw and from the longest run of 4,500m, and you can enjoy exhilaration and refreshment while overlooking Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro. About 85% of the 13 courses are beginner or intermediate courses, so novices and families can have a good time.

The summit is easily reached via lift where beginners can cruise down the long “Rainbow 3500” trail. An added bonus is that all lifts are hooded.

There are many specialty lunches served in the Cafeteria where you can partake in a bowl of “Golden Sio Ramen,” from the famed Kitakata ramen restaurant Kiichi. This is supervised by the famous “Kiichi” restaurant of Kitakata Ramen.

The resort’s rental system is modern and supports various QR payments. The Urabandai Grandeco Tokyu Hotel is just a few steps from the slopes. Since it’s located in Bandai Asahi National Park, this resort hotel provides guests with easy access to the great outdoors.

The hotel dinner is a full course of French and Japanese cuisine including ingredients from Fukushima. You can enjoy a comfortable stay with ample facilities such as an indoor pool and jacuzzi that can be used throughout the year, as well as hot springs that can be used on day trips.

Text by: SHOE PRESs

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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